A rather personal approach to explaining trauma recovery, substantiated by expertise.
If you feel broken, Dr Sarah Woodhouse’s debut novel, You’re Not Broken, might be the novel you need to read this summer. Written by a trauma expert and research psychologist, whose passion led her to create her own therapeutic trademark The Freedom Process, you can rest assured you are learning strategies from an absolute specialist.
Author Woodhouse uses a biographical style to incorporate clinical concepts relating to trauma into the text. As such, rather than a direct medical explanation of methods used in therapy, we learn how different clinical approaches assisted her in her own recovery.
In this way, although Woodhouse does use some case examples of people she has assisted in her professional work, a lot of the book is self-focused. As such, it would be particularly useful for someone who is female, suffers from anorexia or anxiety (or both), and/or feels disconnected in mind, body, and spirit.
The therapeutic approaches she chose to apply within her professional practice were determined because they worked for her. She would then research these techniques from a medical perspective. Consequently, her knowledge on trauma developed from both experience and research, and all derived from pivotal points in her life.
With the outlining of how she dealt with unhealthy coping mechanisms, what I found most interesting was that trauma does not necessarily all relate to a specific event. Conversely, it is fascinating that even when one is markedly disconnected from their emotions or subconscious traumas, they still remember healing words spoken, even when they are not looking (or ready) for it.
Although I am female, I did not connect fully to this book or the author as I could not relate to the majority of her dysfunctions. However, I definitely feel that if someone does, they will not be able to put the book down as her writing style is easy-going and straightforward.
Furthermore, the book is well-structured, divided into three major parts with three chapters in each. Not only that, she has thoughtfully included an appendix, resources, a glossary, notes, a bibliography, acknowledgements, and an index.
If you suffer from anxiety, shame, low self-esteem, addictions, depression or brain fog (the list goes on), You’re Not Broken explains the possible reasons why. For example, did you know that anxiety could be stemming from a masked emotion you haven’t acknowledged? Or that addictive patterns aren’t just a way to avoid pain, but relate to the illusion of feeling a connection?
Part three is all about the tools for recovery. As Woodhouse so eloquently states, you need to move towards the thing you’ve been pushing away, in order to “break free and reclaim your life.”
Reviewed by Rebecca Wu
Distributed by: Penguin Books
Released: 30 March 2021